Billboard Music Awards 2012: Stevie Wonder Addresses Robin Gibb, Donna Summer Deaths

11:50 PM PST 05/20/2012 by THR Staff

The icon said music endures, allowing us to “educate others about how great,” the late musicians were.

After being honored with Billboard’s Icon Award, Stevie Wonder paid tribute to two other music icons, who made big contributions to the industry. The music legend spoke to reporters about Donna Summer, who died May 17, and Bee Gees member Robin Gibb, whose death was reported hours before the 2012 Billboard Music Awards.

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“We live in a world with changes happening more rapidly,” Wonder said. “We won’t see them ever again. That’s a heartbreak. The blessing is we’re able to feel the pain, which means we were able to feel some love from that person; feel the experiences the music gave us.”

Wonder went on to reflect on music’s ability to endure, saying we will forever have the voices of those we’ve lost, which can be used to “educate others about how great that person was.”

Wonder performed with Alicia Keys during the awards show, which featured nods to Summer, Gibb, and other performers lost this year. Whitney Houston was honored with the Millennium Award and with performances by John Legend and Jordin Sparks. Cee Lo Green honored Beastie Boy Adam Yauch with a cover of "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)" 

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Though Summer and Gibb both died after battling cancer, Wonder referenced the drug-related deaths of Houston and Micheal Jackson, calling for others to support those who need help.

"Everyone has issues. No one is perfect," Wonder said. "We have to do something as communicators to help them do better."

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